Merry Christmas!

Ginger Couple

I baked gingerbread cupcakes with cinnamon cream cheese frosting for my office holiday party. I couldn’t resist making some ginger people to top them!

Ginger People

The frosting was, I must say, amazing. I’d made cinnamon before, and cream cheese, but never the two together. Definitely recommended! I basically just added a teaspoon of cinnamon to my regular cream cheese frosting.

Gingerbread Cupcakes

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Cupcakes for a 6-year-old boy’s Minecraft-themed birthday party

As I have tended to concentrate more on flavors than decorating, this was my first time working with gum paste for my own cupcakes. Gum paste is similar to fondant except it dries hard. (I also think it tastes a little bit better, but it still doesn’t taste wonderful!) That makes it more appropriate for detailed decorations.

Minecraft_Cupcake_Topper_Grid

I drew a 1 cm grid on parchment paper to provide a guide, flipped it over and taped it to a white cutting board. That gave me a clean and stick-resistant area to work.

The gum paste was white, so I colored a batch with food coloring gel to a light green before rolling it out onto my grid. (Note: Use gloves if you don’t want your hands colored like mine were! The easiest way to color is to work the gel into the paste by hand.) I used a pastry cutter to cut out 5×5 cm squares. I scored them gently with a grid, not cutting all the way through, to provide the base for my Creepers.

I colored other batches of gum paste a darker green and black for the details, cutting 1×1 cm squares.

Minecraft_Cupcakes_Green_Squares

I applied water with a brush to glue the small squares onto the larger to make my Minecraft Creeper cupcake toppers and let them dry overnight.

Minecraft_Cupcakes_Cut

The cupcakes were dirt-color (chocolate!), and vanilla buttercream attached the Creepers. As creating the toppers were time consuming, I made enough for half the batch, piping buttercream “grass” onto the rest.

Minecraft_Cupcakes_Creepers

The birthday boy was delighted with his Minecraft cupcakes, it was totally worth staying up late and dyeing my hands green and black!

MinecraftPinata
The TNT piñata was a hit.

Gum paste may harden, but it wilts in the summer sun! The birthday party guests didn’t seem to mind at all.

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I made these logo toppers for the Birchbox tech team. I found the perfect-shaped “B” cutter and used a square punch to create the diamond in the middle.

Making Logo Cupcake Topper

Birchbox logo - gum paste

Birch box logo cupcakes - gum paste toppers

IMG_2774

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These citrus-flavored cupcakes hit the spot after some Independence Day BBQ.

Fourth of July Cupcakes

I used grapefruit in my Lemon Cupcake recipe, which resulted in a subtle citrus flavor that no one could quite guess. They tasted good, but they could have used more of a grapefruit punch.

I upped the amount of grapefruit zest in the cupcake recipe below. It should make their taste slightly stronger yet not overpowering.

Happy Fourth of July Weekend!

Recipe: Grapefruit Cupcakes and Frosting

Makes about 16 frosted cupcakes

1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter
4 oz. cream cheese
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 1/2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon grapefruit juice
1 1/2 cups flour
2 tablespoons grapefruit zest
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
FROSTING:
1 1/4 sticks butter, softened
1 pound powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons fresh grapefruit juice
1 teaspoon grapefruit zest

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin tins with paper cupcake liners.

Cream the butter, cream cheese and sugar at medium speed, then reduce to low. Add the eggs one at a time, then add the grapefruit juice and vanilla extract.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the grapefruit zest to the flour mixture.

Incorporate the dry ingredients gradually into the wet ingredients, mixing until just combined. Do not over mix.

Scoop batter into lined muffin tins with an ice cream scoop (about 3/4 full). Bake about 20 minutes, rotating pans halfway through.

Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan, then move to racks to cool completely.

For frosting: Beat the butter until smooth and add the vanilla extract. Slowly add the powdered sugar, then the grapefruit juice and zest. Add a little milk if frosting is too thick or not smooth. Add more powdered sugar if the frosting is too thin.

Frost the cupcakes once they reach room temperature.

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Cupcake-Bar
All my stands for cupcake display—even the Ferris Wheel—made it out for this event.

The always crowd-pleasing Carrot Cupcakes were the request for a friend’s baby shower, and I was happy to bake a double batch. I also helped with decorations for the party, though I was not the mastermind (that was another crafty friend)! The artist mom-to-be drew a baby owl to adorn the invitations and décor, and we used it as a theme throughout.

Suzy-Owl

Owl-Cupcakes

Pies ‘n’ Thighs catered everything but the cupcakes, including their tasty fried chicken and cornbread with honey butter (and lots more). Lucky bar patrons who came in after the party got the leftovers.

Boat-Bar-Shower

Congrats to the new parents (beautiful baby boy has now arrived)!

Sock Favors
Owls overlook the favor table. (Unmatched socks! If you know the mom-to-be, you get it.)

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